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Annie From The Big Valley by Alex Prager 2008

She's witty and sincere. There's a pleasantness about her that's charming and genuine. She has no formal education past 8th grade but is articulate and of raw talent and vision. Alex Prager is a color photographer and was an eruption into the art scene with her Polyester exhibition last summer out at Robert Berman’s Gallery at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. Prager’s London exhibition, The Big Valley is currently at the Michael Hoppen Gallery and is no disappointment after Polyester.

“The London show is going really well. It's surprising how well people are responding to my work over here. I wasn't sure how it was going to go because I'm so used to showing in my hometown of Los Angeles. This is only the first time I've really ever shown in Europe. I love the scene over here. London is the perfect contrast to L.A. for me, my second favorite place in the world,” said Prager in an interview about her London show.

“I'll be back in LA in September maybe or August, not actually sure. I'm in London working on my new series. So, I guess I'll stay until I feel like I need to be back in L.A. to finish it. I prefer shooting in L.A., because I get more done when I'm out there. But, there's nothing in the world like being in London for the summer.”

Prager creates iconic voyeuristic images of women steeped in sometimes hypnotic, sometimes classic Hollywood cinematic moments. Her models wear retro costumes and obvious polyester blonde wigs with fake gigantic eyelashes and eerily perfect make-up. The poses are staged to create an even further thriller feeling. These are Barbie Dolls about to be lost to some horrific ending. The influences of Hitchcock and David Lynch are evident yet not so that they are mere replications or rip-offs. It’s the lighting that makes her photography so fantastic. She manages to capture the intricacies of a dark night coupled with the vivid foreground of a car’s overhead bright light. The two create a disturbing scratchy awareness of impending doom.

The works are a series of narratives with a sense in each of more story than what is seen. Her storytelling expertise is clear as the imagination is pricked to continue the image after the frame and wonder vis-à-vis before the shutter closed. Even one piece to the next there is a connection of sorts. There are missing frames between but a disquieting relationship exists between the pieces. A French jump cut, maybe, but certainly La Nouvelle Vague. There is a subconscious dismissal of landmark cinematic form, an abundance of childlike iconoclasm and evident Godard deep focus.

Prager got into photography at the age of 20 after visiting a William Eggleston exhibition at The Getty. It is even more flooring to know she is self-taught. There was no formal training for Prager. The images are pure raw talent.

Prager is the recipient of the 2006 London Photographic Award and has shot for such notable publications as Rolling Stone, Elle Japan, I-D, Flaunt, Complex and MOJO.

Author Bio
Kriss Perras
Author: Kriss PerrasWebsite: http://www.ruptured-media.com/Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Publisher & Editor
Bio
Kriss Perras owns Ruptured Media where she publishes Malibu Arts Journal. Ruptured Media is also a story development company. Kriss has been tenacious and fought authority from the very start of her career in journalism. Kriss' first story as a journalist was for her college newspaper covering George W. Bush and Steve Forbes in the Iowa Caucuses during the 2000 election. She showed up at the hotel where Bush was to speak with her editor's letter of assignment in hand. She credentialed at the press desk like every other press person. She had questions in hand she had prepared to ask the Presidential candidate. She walked into the speaking room to find the press was roped off from the candidate. Being new to election coverage, and journalism, she was disappointed. She stood next to a seasoned AP photographer on the press platform. She asked the AP photographer if she could get out from behind the ropes and ask Bush her questions. The AP photographer said, "Well, you can try." So she did. She stepped out from behind the ropes and waited in line behind the people seeking the candidate's autograph. When it was her turn, she introduced herself to Bush as a college journalist and started to ask her questions. Bush said, " Wait, are you a journalist?" She said, "Yes." Bush nodded to his Secret Service team. They promptly came over on each side of her. She was 5'6" tall and weighed 127 pounds. The Secret Service men were well over a foot taller than her and obviously guys who worked out often. They could pick her up with their pinky fingers. They quickly picked her up by her arms, carried her over the ropes and plopped her back down on the press platform as she was still asking Bush her questions. Bush to his credit said, "Please give her one of my books. The answers to her questions are in my book." So she had to read his entire book, but she indeed found the answers to her questions. She also drew political cartoons for her college newspaper and still does today. Her next big break came in 2002, still as a student, with an interview with former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brezinski. Kriss went on in 2006 to found PCH Press, Malibu's daily newspaper. With PCH Press, she had extensive coverage of the battle against LNG and the fight against the placement of an LNG port being placed off the coast of Malibu and Oxnard, among other local news. She has covered Olara Otunnu, former United Nations Undersecretary General and Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict when he spoke in Los Angeles in 2006. She covered Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman when she spoke in Los Angeles in 2006. She has interviewed Progressive David Swanson and numerous Malibu Mayors. In 2007, She founded Malibu Arts Journal magazine. Kriss built Malibu Arts Journal from the ground up. She has taken the magazine from an unknown dot com to a respected title. She earned the magazine digital distribution through Magzter and the iTunes App Store where it now enjoys broad based readership across the globe. She is a member of the national honor society Who's Who In American Universities And Colleges. With Malibu Arts Journal she has interviewed several people of note: Jefferson Airplane's Grace Slick, Pulitzer Nominated Photographer Jeff Widener about his iconic "Tank Man" photo from the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, internationally recognized photographer Glen Wexler, internationally acclaimed painter Marcus Jansen, international photography phenom Alex Prager, the widow of Arman--the man who helped to found an entire art movement known as Nouveau Realisme, musician and singer Cal Campbell, son of Glen Campbell and William O'Daly, guru translator of Nobel Prize Winning Poet Pablo Neruda. She has interviewed politicos such as the offices of California State Senate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon and Senator Richard Pan. She has covered controversial subjects such as Dr. Wakefield and the vaccine debate, among many others. *Photo Copyright 2017: Alan Weissman
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